Giant Cuttlefish - Sub-Marine Masters of Disguise - Are First In Britain
Marine experts have hatched out some of the world’s biggest cuttlefish and are nurturing them in readiness to be displayed at Scarborough Sea Life Centre…the first appearance for the species at any UK aquarium.
The marine world’s masters of disguise - Giant Cuttlefish can change colour in a fraction of a second to adopt the best possible camouflage against any background, and can even alter the texture of their skin to mimic seaweed, sand or rock.
Still only a couple of months old, they have been hatched and reared from eggs imported from Japan, by former Scarborough aquarist Derek Scales at Sea Life’s main animal welfare and display development facility in Weymouth, Dorset.
Though now only about six centimetres long they can grow to a massive 60 centimetres, almost half-again as big as a fully grown British cuttlefish and at up to 10.5 kilos….more than twice the weight.
Derek, who was an aquarist at Scarborough Sea Life from 2003 to 2007 and lived in Barrowcliff, now spearheads the Sea Life network’s quest to identify new species that can be successfully reared and ideally ‘bred’ in captivity.
“I am delighted that colleagues back at the Centre where I served my apprenticeship will be the first to host some of these amazing creatures.
“They will get the first two, and like me they will be hoping that they will go on to lay their own eggs and produce a second generation.
“Giant cuttlefish have a short lifespan of up to two years, so successful breeding is key to their long term viability as a stunning new display species for more of our aquariums.”
Even if breeding is not successful however, Scarborough Sea Life visitors should be able to look forward to admiring them for many months to come.
“Ironically, given their ability to shimmer through a dazzling array of colour changes, they are thought to be colour-blind,” said Derek. “It’s probable that they instead see the way light ‘polarises,’ or the many difference wavelengths it produces.”
Cuttlefish use their colour-shifting skills to communicate with each other, signalling aggression, the desire to mate and their general mood.
“It is most spectacular at feeding time,” said Derek. “When they are in hunting mode they put on one of the best light shows you’re ever likely to witness.”
Scarborough Sea Life Centre hopes to have its new stars on display early in the New Year.
Giant Cuttlefish - Sub-Marine Masters of Disguise - Are First In Britain, 10th October 2018, 16:59 PM